Welcome to the page describing the research interests and scientific work of Kinjal Dasbiswas in the area of theoretical soft matter and biological physics.

Scientific Bio, I have joined as an assistant professor in physics at the University of California in Merced, as of 1st September, 2018.  New page coming up soon! My research interests lie in soft matter physics, particularly the application of continuum theories of matter and statistical physics to biological material in cells and tissue.

I am currently fascinated by the active material properties of the cellular cytoskeleton: a complex, tensile, shape-shifting, networked jelly  that helps cells stick, pull, deform and crawl. Aspects of many traditional soft matter systems like polymers, gels,liquid crystals, surfactants and electrostatics come together in cell physics. Additionally, the innards of a cell are buffeted by molecular motors that drive it away from thermal equilibrium. This is then a prototype of complex and adaptive soft matter with non-equilibrium mechanical properties where many ideas from physics can be potentially applied. 

Current research is revealing that mechanical forces are important to biology in a variety of ways: think of muscles contracting, or tissues being deformed, folded and shaped during embryo development. I want to delve deeper into the organizational role of mechanics in biology, particularly how forces act in concert with the chemical and genetic factors ubiquitous in biology. Recently, I have also worked on using topological band theory to interpret bulk-edge differences in complex fluids.  

Much of my work is informed by experiments and is in close collaboration with experimentalists. The goal is always to build simple models with testable predictions that also elucidate the essential scientific principles in a crisp manner. Please visit the "Research" section of this page for more details on specific projects I have worked on.

Before joining UC Merced, I was at the James Franck Institute, University of Chicago  as a postdoctoral scholar in the Vaikuntanathan group  My prior postdoctoral work at the Weizmann Institute with Prof. Samuel Safran explained a link between the structural order and beating of heart muscle cells and showed theoretically how mechano-chemical processes may govern cellular development in a controlled manner. I obtained a PhD in theoretical condensed matter physics from the University of Florida in 2012 working on  low temperature phases of matter.  


  • Ph.D. in physics, University of Florida (Aug 14, 2012) - dissertation titled ``Topological defects in Superfluids including Supersolid Helium'' supervised by Prof. Alan T. Dorsey. 
  • M.Sc. (Integrated) in Physics, Indian Institute of Technology,Kanpur (2007).

     Prior professional positions:

  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel, Sep. 2012 - Sep. 2015 (recipient of VATAT fellowship)
  • Postdoctoral Researcher, James Franck Institute, University of Chicago, Oct. 2015 - Sep. 2018

    Research interests:

    Biological physics, Continuum theories of matter,  Statistical physics

  • Cellular and cytoskeletal mechanics
  • Complex liquids: charged and nematics
  • Topological modes in soft matter

  Awards and Honors:
  • VATAT Fellowship from the Israel Council of Higher Education, 2013.
  • E. Raymond Andrew Memorial Award by the University of Florida, 2012.
  • Alumni fellowship by the University of Florida, 2007.
  • KVPY fellowship by the Department of Science & Technology, Govt. of India, 2003.